2020, Bout of Books, Uncategorized

Book Review: The Minute I Saw You By Paige Toon

Blurb: When Hannah meets Sonny, she’s irresistibly drawn to him: he’s sexy and confident, but only in town on holiday. That’s fine with Hannah – she doesn’t do long-term relationships. And luckily for her, neither does Sonny. But before they can even so much as kiss, Sonny receives some shocking news and commits to making serious life changes – ones that can’t and won’t include romance.

With even a short fling now off the cards, Hannah and Sonny settle for being friends. But as summer hots up and their chemistry shows no signs of cooling, they start to question their reasons for shutting each other out. 

Are they both too broken to find love? And if they tear down the walls between them, will they still like what’s on the other side? 

Review: I’m wholeheartedly completely biased when it comes to Paige Toon, as I’ve stated numerous times I got into her books late on. Recently I’ve embarked on a readathon with Catriona and I’ve loved delving into the books I hadn’t read and re-reading the ones I loved.

The Minute I Saw You – is a first for me. In the first instance it’s the first proof I’ve not touched until publication day and in saying that I’ve read it in a day. Spending my day immersed in Paige Toon in Grantchester, Amsterdam and Australia pausing to watch her Facebook live, to make food and drinks and to watch her Insta live with a few chores in between. It was my mission to complete especially as I had the time to but I did find as I got further into the story my kindle said I didn’t have too long but it seemed to take me longer to finish.

Wow! I mean every single time I think I can’t be shocked by Paige I’m dumbstruck once again. The premise of this novel made my hairs stand on end the intensity and the angst was paramount. I have never imagined how sexual an encounter in an opticians could be making me think more and more about real life situations. Which I’m often left doing after being in Paige’s world.

Now for me what comes next is hard because there’s so much I would love to say but I cannot say and I wouldn’t want to risk ruining this rollercoaster for anyone. I will state one part of the storyline I had half guessed but I would never have anticipated what the actual outcome was. Paige delves into some dark subject matters but what I found encouraging was how she done so in a real way. Ignoring tabo and relying on good old fashioned friendships and conversations.

Both Sonny and Hannah I loved from the off – Paige naturally has a way of creating likeable and unlikeable women – which you will see from this novel there is a girl who features who you really won’t like ha. Hannah is strong on the outset but there is so much to her and her back story is woven through so well but you will be kept guessing for a while. With Sonny I had no incline or indication on his story but wow! I must say his cocky fun personality had me smiling like a goon throughout.

I love that this was a buddy read meaning I had a pal I could scream about stuff too. Paige has a habit of integrating characters from other novels and quite possibly my favourite couple appeared it was definitely a little OMG moment. If I had been able to read this in public it would have been one of those moments when people step away or give weird looks.

There’s so many aspects I want to talk about but I won’t spoil argh. I will mention friendships because there is a bond between a number of characters that grows, changes and evolves and each of those characters bring their own personality to the dynamic. I must say as ever for me there were tears and shocked expressions and genuine love for Paige and another heart wrenching story. The other sentiment I will mention is family and secrets in seeing Sonny and Hannah change, evolve and accept their pasts was emotional. Paige touches on sex in a totally different way showcasing that a true relationship is so much more than sex and that every single person has their own worries, stresses and insecurities but with the right person these aspects shouldn’t matter.

I’m glad I left this book until now to read, during the strangest time of my life I needed a Paige Toon all encompassing love – in saying that in this novel it made me want pizza, Prosecco and coffee…I’m not usually swayed by food in a Paige novel but this one had its moments.

This is another level of Paige Toon showcasing that this woman can put her hand to almost anything. Some hard hitting themes are dealt with such grace and precision and I’m actually left wondering on a few aspects. Quite simply her sexiest novel leaving me hoping these beauties come back to us some day. My time with Sonny and Hannah was short seeing as I read it on publication day but their story is one I will remember fondly and I will be recommending forever more.

2020, Review, Uncategorized

Book Review: Pretending By Holly Bourne

Blurb: April is kind, pretty, and relatively normal – yet she can’t seem to get past date five. Every time she thinks she’s found someone to trust, they reveal themselves to be awful, leaving her heartbroken. And angry.

If only April could be more like Gretel. 

Gretel is exactly what men want – she’s a Regular Everyday Manic Pixie Dream Girl Next Door With No Problems. 

The problem is, Gretel isn’t real. And April is now claiming to be her. 

As soon as April starts ‘being’ Gretel, dating becomes much more fun – especially once she reels in the unsuspecting Joshua.

Finally, April is the one in control, but can she control her own feelings? And as she and Joshua grow closer, how long will she be able to keep pretending?

Review: Pretending is by far the most important book I’ve read so far this year. In seeing this advertised almost instantly my interest was piqued. I’ve had Holly’s other adult novel for a while and after devouring this in a few sittings it’s definitely been pushed up my list.

This book is the book all women need to read whether you’re in your teens and just starting to think about boys or whether you’re in your 30s contemplating where your life’s taking you. Holly has literally listened to all of us young and old. All our thoughts, feelings and insecurities are mentioned. It’s such a raw and incredibly real book, even though April is a work of fiction she could be any one of us. There are parts of her story that will resonate with many women.

April could be any of every single one of us. Her worries and thoughts are just like us. I found myself thinking about my life and thinking of the lives my young nieces will lead and its definitely proved to me just how important of a message this book is. I don’t want to state too much but April’s thoughts take her on a rollercoaster ride and when she changes her thought process her life changes.

Holly takes on a number of beyond awful themes like rape and domestic violence just to name a few and she does it with such grace. I loved hearing about April’s job I worked for a charity although in a total different aspect.

This is a book I won’t forget and there are so many aspects that will come back to haunt me in the greatest of aspects. An important and chilling read and my fave gets a mention. Anyone that brings Ronan Keating in makes me smile.

2019, Blog Tour, Uncategorized

Blog Tour: So Lucky By Dawn O’Porter

Blurb: Fearless, frank and for anyone who’s ever doubted themselves, So Lucky is the straight-talking new novel from the Sunday Times bestseller.

IS ANYONE’S LIFE . . .

Beth shows that women really can have it all.

Ruby lives life by her own rules.

And then there’s Lauren, living the dream.

AS PERFECT AS IT LOOKS?

 Beth hasn’t had sex in a year.

Ruby feels like she’s failing.

Lauren’s happiness is fake news.

And it just takes one shocking event to make the truth come tumbling out…

The bold and brilliant new novel from Dawn O’Porter, the bestselling author of The Cows.

Review: Firstly, I’m sorry that this has come so late in the day. What I must say is I love that blog tours take me out of my comfort zone and hand me books I would have missed. Until now I haven’t read anything by Dawn but I will definitely look into more from her.

So Lucky is a frank and very real book about three separate women and many others who feature alongside them. Showing that each of us have our own worries and strains in everyday life. Re-enforcing the quote you don’t know what others are battling as we are all on our own personal journeys. I loved that Lauren seems completely happy on the outset but even she is facing her own issues.

I’m a 35 year old woman who has just this month moved to a job where most of my colleagues are younger than me, but I’ve never felt happier. That’s not saying that my life is perfect and where I want it to be, because it’s not. I have many hang ups that are still getting me down but slowly but surely I’m battling them and this book has given me food for thought and something to smile at. We are all a work in progress and we all need to give ourselves a break with a bit of self love.

I am wholeheartedly trying to embrace a fully more positive mindset and so far so good.

Be sure to check out the book and the rest of the tour.

2018, audible, Review, Uncategorized

Audible Original: West Cork

Good morning, now this wasn’t my original thoughts for a blog post and my other posts will come but I was blown away by the start of this series. Having finished my current book I wanted something light but oh my…

Summary: This much we do know: Sophie Toscan du Plantier was murdered days before Christmas in 1996, her broken body discovered at the edge of her property near the town of Schull in West Cork, Ireland. The rest remains a mystery.

Gripping, yet ever elusive, join the real-life hunt for answers in the year’s first not-to-be-missed, true-crime series. Investigative journalist Sam Bungey and documentarian Jennifer Forde guide listeners through the brutal, unsolved murder and the tangled web of its investigation, while introducing an intricate cast of characters, a provocative prime suspect, and a recovering community whose story begs to be heard.

Review: Part one – Blow-ins. I have been an Audible member for just over a year or so now and until now I hadn’t listened to any series based podcasts. There are a number of these that Audible members can listen to for free and for some reason West Cork jumped out at me. So I downloaded and having finished my latest read that will be reviewed shortly I thought let me start something I can dip in and out of or alternatively I can get hooked on these short sharp parts of roughly 30 mins long.

The beginning of part one is so eerie and it really did make me think of those crime dramas you see on the TV. As the story unfolds you learn about Sophie’s death and that the killer was at large. I’ve been to Ireland and to Cork and it’s such a nice and homely place that instantly relaxes you. But then a murder took place and threw the locals out of sync scaring them half to death.

The story is told via people, news reports and two journalists who are trying to find out what happened to Sophie and whether the accused is guilty or whether he’s been wronged by the guards and everyone who believed he could have done it.

It’s a very atmospheric start to this series with talks of myths and legends. A town who have never been able to lay Sophie to rest as it’s never been resolved.

For me there are a number of sketchy questions in Sophie’s movements but I must say I wasn’t sure what to expect by this. I don’t know enough to form any major thoughts on what happened but I’m very much intrigued. I was so intrigued that I have also listened to part two.

Have you listened to any shows like this? If so what and would you request it. Would you like me to continue reviewing this eerie real-life tale?

I would love to hear from you….

2018, Blog Tour, Publication Day, Review, Uncategorized

Blog Tour: Forgive Me Not By Samantha Tonge

Blurb: How far would you go to make amends?

When Emma fled her home at Foxglove Farm, she’d let down and hurt those who cared for her most. But now, two years later, she’s ready to face up to her past; she’s ready to go back.

But Emma’s unannounced return causes more problems than she could have foreseen. The people she knew and loved aren’t ready to forget, let alone forgive. And the one person she wants to reconnect with the most, her mother, can’t remember who she is.

Just as Emma starts to rebuild trust, an uncovered family secret and a shocking past crime threaten her newly forged future…

Sometimes simply saying sorry isn’t enough.

Review: Now I can’t say I have read all of Samantha Tonge’s back catalogue but what I have read I have really enjoyed.

Forgive Me Not is a brand new novel from Samantha with Canelo it’s a whole new direction for her and all I can say is wow.

I took part in a readathon at the weekend and for once I didn’t do too badly. (More on this later) but I knew I was due to review Forgive Me Not today so it was definitely on my TBR and it kept me transfixed. I was working over the weekend but every spare minute was spent truly devouring Emma’s story.

Emma is such an interesting character although at times I felt frustrated at her and on behalf of her. As the story unfolds you’re taken back and forth on her journey. There’s so much to Emma and her story isn’t as clear cut as it seems at times. I loved seeing the twists unfold and the terror and shock of what she discovered. It’s remarkable how secrets and lies can shape your whole existence – well this is definitely part of Emma’s story and I’m pretty sure there are many people out there that will agree if certain events in their lives had been different their journey would have been different. This sentiment made me question how we are towards others around us. It’s all well and good being sorry but actions do speak louder than words and Emma learns the hard way.

If you have read Samantha’s work wipe away any misconceptions as this novel is a one off a stand alone that will stay with you long after the final page.

This novel seemed to come to me at the right time. I’m penning a post that will link nicely to this book but I don’t want to give too much away the gist I will say is that every single person you meet is fighting their own personal battles and appearances can be deceptive. Sometimes we automatically judge people when we have no right. Anything can change our way of life, a difficult childhood doesn’t mean you’ll turn out a tearaway, and coming from money also doesn’t mean you’ll never experience hardship in some way shape or form.

I could share so many quotes from this epic tale but I really liked this “she’d concluded that all being normal meant was being happy with yourself.” This speaks volumes to me and right now in a good place on my Slimming World journey I finally feel happier in myself.

Forgiving comes easy to some but Emma’s sister isn’t ready to forget and on Emma’s journey as she starts to heal she realises where her family are coming from. I truly believe this sentiment will be an eye opener for most.

This story has so much to deal with and it’s done so well. I don’t want to elaborate too much as it’s a special journey and each and every reader will see different signs and triggers. Sadly in the world we live in there’s still a stigma around mental health and depression. On the flip side they are just two aspects and thanks to authors like Samantha these everyday real life battles are being spoken about more.

If you want to read a book that’s going to entertain, intrigue and teach you something then go grab Forgive Me Not and join Emma on her rollercoaster ride. My final words are Never judge a book by its cover, appearances can be deceptive and think before you judge another.

2018, Blog Tour, novella, Quick Reads, Review, Short Story, Uncategorized

Blog Tour: My Sweet Friend By H.A. Leuschel

Blurb: A perfect friend … or a perfect impostor?

Alexa is an energetic and charismatic professional and the new member of a Parisian PR company where she quickly befriends her colleagues Rosie and Jack. She brings a much-needed breath of fresh air into the office and ambitiously throws herself into her new job and friendships.

But is Alexa all she claims to be?

As her life intertwines with Rosie and Jack’s, they must all decide what separates truth from fiction. Will the stories that unfold unite or divide them? Can first impressions ever be trusted?

In this original novella, H.A. Leuschel evokes the powerful hold of appearances and what a person is prepared to do to keep up the facade. If you like thought-provoking and compelling reads with intriguing characters, My Sweet Friend is for you.

Review: Back in March I was on the blog tour for Tess and Tattoos by Helene. Here is my review of that.

It was an intriguing and thought provoking read. I wasn’t sure what to expect and I was left in awe of the strangest read that left me wanting more. Then Rachel posted about My Sweet Friend also one of Helene’s short novellas. I was an instant yes, reads like these are why I like blog tours. I do get bogged down from time to time but discovering new authors who I may have bypassed makes it worthwhile. I was also lucky enough to win this…

I still haven’t touched the chocolate as I’m very new to Slimming World but will be a good treat soon.

I really don’t know where to start My Sweet Friend is a short novella that will have you captivated from the off. Alexa looks the part and has a way of making people feel special if only for a short while. Rosie seems captivated by her confidence and stylish air but is her new friend what she seems. As the novella progresses Rosie starts to put two and two together although the damage is already done. Rosie confides in Alexa and she chooses to use her weakness to her advantage seeming like a good friend, willing to help and eager to calm Rosie’s stresses – that’s until she changes her mind.

This novella shows you what friends are and aren’t and how a person can use manipulation to make her craziness seem normal.

Alexa is a deeply troubled young woman who likes to believe she lives the high life when in reality, she’s troubled, lonely and depressed.

A thought provoking novella that will make you question your own actions and make you appreciate the people in your life who truly care for you. Helene has a way in intertwining a number of issues, friends, foes, work/ life balance, depression and manipulation. I cannot wait to devour my competition win – this author has one mental imagination.

Blog Tour, New Author to me

Blog Tour: Appetite By Anita Cassidy….

Blurb: Because everyone hungers for something…

Food and Sex: two appetites the modern world stimulates, but also the ones we are expected to keep under control. But what happens when we don’t?

Embarking on an affair, lonely wife and mother Naomi blossoms sexually in a false spring while David, the fattest boy at the local comprehensive and best friend of her son, struggles to overcome bullying and the apathy of his divorced mother.

David finally starts to learn about the mechanisms of appetite through a science project set by his intelligent but jaded teacher, Matthew. David’s brave efforts to change himself open Matthew’s eyes to his activist girlfriend’s dangerous plans to blow up VitSip, a local energy-drink company where Naomi works.

At the mercy of their appetites, this exciting debut novel shows that some hungers can never be satisfied…

Today I should be sharing my review but I haven’t finished this tasty treat as life has got in the way. I must say I am wholeheartedly loving it and when I have time and my eyes aren’t closing I’m devouring every second of it. So today I still wanted to honour my time on the tour for Anita and for RedDoor publishing so I have decided alongside the lovely Anna at RedDoor to share an extract and my thoughts. I’m sure in doing so you will also be itching to pick up this treat of a book….

David is the character I feel for most so far so I want to share an extract of his. As this book is split into three people David, Naomi and Matthew – the other two are great but without further ado I pass you over to David.

‘David!’ Kerri’s voice carried up the stairs. ‘Dinner, David!’ He got up slowly and went downstairs.

The word dinner had always been used loosely, and this

was especially the case since his dad had left. Walking into the living room, David smelt the meal before he saw it. The spicy aroma of fried chicken hung on the air, a calorific cloud. It smelt like Friday but it was still only Thursday. His mouth watered and he wondered why they were having this tonight. But, seeing the red and white boxes of crunchy chicken pieces, spiced burgers and onion rings, he suddenly didn’t care. The chips were pale and limp as always but the onion rings and popcorn bites…well, they were worth fighting his sisters for.

Staring hard at Kerri’s back as she walked into the kitchen, he felt the blackness from the day roil inside him. It was his favourite meal. Why had she bought his favourite? What was going on?

He sat down heavily on the sofa, waiting for her to come back in. The room was warm. It was dark outside but the curtains were still open.

‘I’ll shut these,’ said Kerri, moving to the window. ‘And then we can watch something… Shall we let David pick tonight, girls?’

‘Sure thing!’ said Emily brightly.

‘Awwww,’ moaned Jess.

Lying on the floor, mere inches away from the screen, she

was watching it with wide eyes, little pointed chin perched on laced-together fingers. She passed David the remote and stuck her tongue out at him. He scowled back. He wasn’t in the mood for her and her tween posturing tonight.

David continued to watch Kerri out of the corner of narrowed eyes. Having shut the curtains, she was now passing round drinks.

‘So, David can choose and then we can eat! I thought you might enjoy this tonight. And I got your favourite for dessert. A Viennetta! I thought: let’s go retro!’

David’s scowl hardened. Kerri only chattered like this when she was nervous. He looked again at the table. All the extra food. His own choice of movie. His preferred pudding. Why would she be trying so hard to make him happy?

He felt a pulse of anxiety beat through him. Despite the heat in the room, his whole body went cold.

‘He can’t make it, can he?’

The beat of silence was audible even over the noise of the television.

‘No,’ Kerri replied, unable to meet his eyes. ‘I’m so sorry, David. He texted this morning. Said he has to go away for work.’

There was another pause.

‘I’m really sorry. I know how much you were looking forward to it.’

‘That’s the second time he’s done that to David,’ piped up Jess. ‘Spanner!’

‘Jess!’ Kerri said sharply. ‘You know I won’t have you talk about your dad like that. Enough!’

David stared at the floor, face burning with a sharp mixture of shame, anxiety and disappointment, as well as that deep misery that only comes when someone confirms something that you suspected would happen all along. Not that suspecting it made it any easier to bear when it did eventually come to pass.

‘So, I got your favourite things in. And I thought, over the weekend, we could have a movie marathon… Hot dogs, wedges, popcorn, treats! We can snuggle up, watch DVDs, play games…’

‘Sure,’ David muttered and, reaching out for a burger, he popped open the box and began to eat.

They watched and ate in silence. David chewed his way mechanically through three burgers. He ate the onion rings and the little deep-fried balls of crispy chicken. He drank his way right through the two-litre bottle of Coke that Kerri had placed by his side. As the film progressed, and after the girls had been sent up to bed, David glanced up and noticed that Kerri hadn’t yet cleared the table of the things they had eaten. Despite feeling nauseous, he picked up the paper packet of chips and took a few out. They were stone-cold: granular and bland. The taste brought back what had happened the other lunchtime. He was used to the taunts but that had been something else. Feeling the knot of anger tighten beneath the sick feeling deep in the hard-soft folds of his belly, his fists and jaw involuntarily clenched. He sucked it up all day long at school and it was only at night or in the evenings, once the girls had gone to bed, that he could feel the anger heating up inside him, barely contained and waiting to explode like a chip pan about to catch alight.

Kerri came in with a mug of tea and a packet of biscuits. She sat down heavily in the armchair. David looked at the rolls of fat under her chin as she sat back and stared tiredly at the TV screen. Without even looking down, she peeled open the shiny dark-brown packet and took two chocolate digestives out of the top.

She’s the one who never cooked, thought David. She’s the one who was always busy, always working, always out doing something more important than preparing fresh food for us to eat. She’s the one who brought takeaways home. She’s the one who filled the fridge with fizzy drinks and sweets.

She’s the one who let Dad leave.

‘Do you want one?’ Kerri asked casually, placing the pack on the table. ‘I’ll take them back into the kitchen in a minute; don’t want to eat all of them…’ She trailed off and looked up, a rare moment of eye contact with her firstborn.

And, with that, David’s anger set alight.

‘No, I bet you don’t,’ he hissed back, voice hot and spitting. ‘Does it make you feel better to have someone even fatter than you to look at? Do you think I want to eat any more of the crap you buy? Do you think I want to look and feel like an enormous pile of shit every day? It’s your fault I’m like this – it’s your fault and I hate you. I hate you. I fucking hate you!’

‘David!’

Trying to ignore the dampening effect that his lack of speed was having on the impact of what he had just said, he lumbered up and off the sofa. Kerri was staring at him now, eyes wide and mouth open, stunned. And this – the fact that she looked so shocked, so fucking surprised – just made him angrier still. How could she not know? How could she not know how much it hurt?

He turned his back on her and stomped up the stairs. The fact that his knees ached, his back hurt and he felt sick just made him feel angrier. By the time he got to his room he could no longer contain it. Punching the pillows, he hit them over and over again, the feathers yielding, his stomach wobbling, his breathing shallow with the effort. He lay down heavily on the bed.

I’m even too fat to be angry, he thought.

The tears came next. As they ran down his face, hot and salty, he could feel them leaving sludgy tracks over his swollen cheeks.

There was a tapping on the door. He saw Kerri’s feet underneath it: patches of black against the strip of light coming through from the small hallway.

‘GO AWAY,’ he shouted.

The feet remained.

Minutes passed. There was another tap. ‘David… Please…’ David turned the volume on the television up.

There was another tap.

He turned the volume up even higher.

The feet moved on.

Suddenly feeling even sadder, David pulled open the

bedside drawer and grabbed a large, creamy-brown bag of Revels. Handful by handful, he ate them all, and then he stared at the television until he fell asleep.

Lying in bed the following morning, David still felt angry, but there was also a sense of embarrassment, of anxiety about having to go downstairs and see Kerri. His emotions had been served up scalding hot, and now, cold and congealed, it all seemed less important. He wondered why he had yelled. Well, he knew exactly why – he had been angry – but he was often angry and he usually managed to hide it. It was just that sometimes pretending not to care was too much. Sometimes it had to be released, squeezed out like the pus from a spot; and now he felt lighter – not really better, but a little lighter. He hoped that what would happen now was what always happened: she would act as if nothing had been said, and he would do the same. That pattern of behaviour was fairly reliable. Which was more than could be said for his dad.

David sighed and then got up. If he left it too late he would have to catch the bus, and that would definitely not make him feel better.

Washed and dressed, he went downstairs. As he approached the bottom of the stairs, he stopped, wobbling slightly but hesitating. ‘Jeez,’ he muttered. Even with the inches of MDF in between him and the shouting, it was ear-achingly loud.

‘It’s mine! You CAN’T have it!’ Emily was yelling.

‘It is NOT yours! I got it out of my drawer! It’s mine!’ Bracing himself, David went into the living room, wincing

at the noise as he opened the door.

Kerri came in from the kitchen. She looked tired; her face

was red and, with wet hair and her dressing gown still on, she was clearly also running late.

‘Are you still fighting over that hair clip?’ she cried out, exasperated. ‘I asked you to sort it out between yourselves!’

‘But it’s mine!’ said Emily.

I decided on this extract as I think this shows a lot of how David is feeling. He knows he needs to change his lifestyle but he’s the child he’s not the one making the dinner – he doesn’t call the shots. His outburst at Kerri for me was a turning point in understanding David’s struggles.

I love this book and I think Anita has a wonderful way with words and tells an intriguing yet very real and at times raw story. I’m bowled over by it and my review will come as soon as possible…

audible, FabBookFiend Recommendation, Review

Audible Review: How To Be A Woman By Caitlin Moran

Blurb: It’s a good time to be a woman: we have the vote and the Pill, and we haven’t been burnt as witches since 1727. However, a few nagging questions do remain… 
Why are we supposed to get Brazilians? Should we use Botox? Do men secretly hate us? And why does everyone ask you when you’re going to have a baby? 
Part memoir, part rant, Caitlin answers the questions that every modern woman is asking.

Review: Here is another Fabbookfiend aka Catriona recommendation. I had been toying with the idea of reading this for a while. After reading my buddy read of Chase the Rainbow I had said I wanted to read more Non-Fiction and not just self-help books. 

As I have mentioned before I work for Cancer Research and we receive hundreds of books it came in and I thought it was a sign – until I realised that Caitlin herself was reading said book on Audible. So I was swayed by the audio and to be honest I’m so glad as I really enjoyed her trademark wit. As I got to the end I realised I would miss her voice and her humour. On the cover of this book it has a quote from Grazia saying ‘The book every woman should read’ and I must admit based on certain chapters I can wholeheartedly agree with that. 

Caitlin explores a number of topics that effect women including sexism, equality, shaving certain areas of our bodies – part of that made me laugh out loud, bearing in mind I listen to my audios mostly when traveling to work ha. Having children or not having children and abortion to name a few. I love that she’s tackled a number of hard hitting subjects with wit and clarity. I’m 33 and I sure as hell don’t have life sorted but sometimes we have to work with what we have.

Thank you Caitlin for saying everything most of us ladies needed to hear.

Have you read this book by Caitlin Moran. What did you think? If you have, have you read anymore from her if so what should I read next. 

My seventh and final book cover post will be up later today.

audible, Review, Uncategorized

Discovering Audible inc Jodi Picoult

What is Audible? I hear you say. I must be honest I have been thinking about and talking about audio books for a while on and off. I started an audio cd of Wolf Hall a while ago but the cd part was the problem.

Audible is a subscription that allows you to listen to books and podcasts wherever you are with the app. Even if you switch devices you’ll never lose your place. There are thousands of titles to choose from in the worlds largest library. As I said above I had been thinking about this for a while and then I spoke to a few bloggers via Twitter about it and after a little more thinking I was hooked. I had been given the advice to choose a long and costly read for my first read as one it would be free and I would want to get the most out of it. Which is exactly what I did.

Before choosing my first Audible read I had a few options but I kept coming back to one read in particular. Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult. I had been wanting to read this one for ages I had hinted at various family members about this book, but now I am so so glad that it was my very first Audible read. Jodi gave me Ruth’s story on many walks to and from work. For me Audible has been exactly what I needed in my life as, for a while now I have walked to and sometimes from work which has meant my reading time has slowly ceased well, that’s not totally true but walking along with your head in a book can be dangerous, so it meant I wasn’t getting as much time to read. Not as much as I would have liked anyway.

Small Great Things has been hailed this era’s To Kill A Mockingbird and I can wholly see why. It has left a lasting impression on me, that will have you questioning even your own judgement. It also made me realise that nothing in life is ever black and white. People do things for all sorts of reasons and I was totally bowled over by this story and the characters. I adored Ruth from the get go and I had read the blurb so I had some indication to the story but I wasn’t expecting the many turn of events there were. Not just in the awful situation that was the starting point of Ruth’s suspension but also all the other factors that she and her family undertook in various stages of their lives and the blatant racism and prejudice that still effects society.

I love that Jodi Picoult looks at hard hitting real issues and tells a story. I also loved that at the end of this audio there was a footnote from Jodi explaining how she came about this story and what her motivations were. If anything this has made me an even bigger fangirl of Jodi and I would love to meet her someday as each read of hers I have read has left a lasting effect and I think this may well be my favourite so far.

As an audible addict, member, subscribing I now get one credit each month so as long as my read is worth more than the £7.99 subscription then I am laughing. I have already took advantage of four daily deals. The Color Purple a classic I have had on my TBR for ever and You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero which I have listened to twice. It’s only 5 and a half hours and as my walk to work is between 40 mins to 1 hour so it didn’t take long. It’s an enlightening read and it’s really helped me. I am almost at the end of BabyDoll by Hollie Overton which was another daily steel, which has been heart-breaking yet all encompassing. I am definitely a fan of Hollie now,  and I have another motivational one to listen to at some point in How To Be Brilliant.

So Jodi and Jen have enlightened and inspired me and now I am really enjoying Hollie’s debut. There are certain books that I think will forever be my walking reads now. So it is safe to say I am having lots of fun with Audible, so thank you again to my blogger friends who inspired me to get on Audible. I am sorry this post has taken forever I have literally just had to edit and add my other daily deal fun.

Let me know if you are an Audible fan and why? Feel free to share your fave reads, tips etc. I am looking forward to choosing another title and Jodi will come up again as a lot of her reads are longer ones which will tide me over well. Plus I am loving the deals when I find treats ha. I have one credit sat waiting for me right now and I am thinking it may well be Miss You by Kate Eberlen. It keeps popping up and it sounds like the light-hearted read I need right now. I have loads still to be updating so don’t be surprised if on a few days there are more than one post and then not much. You guys know the drill with me these days…

Author Q&A, Guest Post

Guest Post: Sheila Norton talks to Hayley Reviews.

Today I am delighted to welcome Sheila Norton to Hayley Reviews. As you can see from my previous post I read and loved The Vets at Hope Green part one. Before part two becomes available I decided to ask Sheila some questions. Welcome Sheila and thank you so much for joining me….

1. Sheila as an extremely new fan of your writing tell me a bit about your background and your books? After I have read each part of vets at hope green I hope to read more from you. 

Hayley, it’s so good to have you as a fan! I’ve been writing my entire life really, but it was just a hobby until I started having short stories published during the 1990s. Then my first novel was published in 2003 – followed by seven more with that first publisher and six that I self-published from scratch. The early novels were all in the ‘chick lit’ genre, but more recently I’ve written two novels set in the 1960s (my teenage era!) and one with grandparents as the heroines. You can probably tell my age from that! However, my newest books are with Ebury Publishing, who commissioned me specially to write ‘animal’ stories. The first two of these are ‘cat’ stories – narrated by the cats! These have been very popular and I loved writing them, but I’ve also really loved writing ‘The Vets at Hope Green’, which has both human and animal interest! I’m now retired from my day job, so writing is my main occupation, but I worked most of my life as a medical secretary in the NHS. I also brought up three daughters, who between them have now blessed my husband and me with six little grandchildren. So I’m used to being busy!
There’s a full list of my books on my website www.sheilanorton.com

2. Cathy Bramley has done extremely well from e-book 4 part stories. Whose decision was it to do The Vets at Hope Green in this way? 

It was my publisher’s decision, partly because of the success of similar series. When my editor first suggested it, I found the idea quite strange, and it was tricky writing the book in four parts, with ‘cliff hangers’ at the end of each part to encourage readers on to the next one – but I soon got into it and enjoyed the process. It’s always good to try something different. And now I’m really excited about the next one, which will be another four part series. Watch this space!

3. Is Hope Green based on a real or fictional place?

It’s fictional. But we spend a lot of time in the west country so I enjoyed setting the story in a Dorset village. I could imagine it quite clearly in my mind! The next one will be set in Devon.

4. Without spoilers tell us a bit more about the characters?

Sam is a Norfolk girl originally, who’s moved to London to work in an upmarket city vet practice, but her real dream is to have more contact with animals, and ideally to live somewhere in the country where she can have dogs and children! Unfortunately her boyfriend Adam doesn’t share her dream at all, but she finds comfort and understanding in Hope Green with her Nana Peggy – a no-nonsense, tough lady who speaks her mind but adores her granddaughter. In Hope Green Sam meets some interesting characters including Joe, the new vet who seems to like animals a lot more than people, and David, who walks local people’s dogs for a living. And of course – there are some lovely animal characters too!

5. What is your ideal writing day? Explain.

Much as I love my family and friends, and prioritise them whenever possible, I also love having a day when I have nothing at all in my diary, no shopping or housework desperately needing to be done, and can write as much as I like! After breakfast I’ll check emails and social media first, responding to anything I need to, then start by reading through the last few pages of what I’ve written in the previous session. If I’m working from a synopsis, which is the case with my new books, I’ll re-read the part I’m working through, and then get stuck in. I’ll break for a cup of tea after an hour or so, and again either to go for a walk or a swim, following which I’ll have a sandwich for lunch. Then check the emails etc again before carrying on with some more work on the book. When I’ve reached a good place to stop – ideally at an exciting part, so I’m going to be fired up to get back to it the next day! – I’ll make a brief note of what I’m planning to put next. Then I’ll cook dinner, if it’s time, or else relax with the paper, a book, or a computer game. I don’t often work during the evening unless I’m running tight for a deadline. I had to do all my writing during the evenings when I was at my day job, so I enjoy having them free now. I’m happy to respond to emails and social media while watching TV though – and enjoy writing things like this!

6. What are your hopes for 2017?

Well, of course I’m hoping ‘The Vets At Hope Green’ will be a success! The most important thing for me is that people enjoy it – I’ve never expected to be a bestseller, not that it wouldn’t be nice if it happened! And
I’ve just had the synopsis for the next four-part series agreed by my editor, and have started writing the first part of it, so I’m obviously looking forward to completing that, too. Other than that, at my age my chief hopes are to be healthy enough to enjoy life, and for all my family to be happy and healthy.

I already adore Sam and I haven’t yet finished part one and I know that’s only the beginning of her story.

Thank you! So pleased you’re enjoying it. And thank you so much for inviting me to feature on your blog.
Thank you so much Sheila it was lovely to have you here. 

As stated The Vets At Hope Green part one: Escape to the country is available now. Kindle link with part two available for pre-order Kindle link part two. I have pre-ordered mine have you???